I was thrilled to interview author Andy Frost – his book ‘Long Story Short’ gets us thinking about our lives and how our individual stories are part of a bigger narrative. I wrote a review for it here which gives a little more information about it, but for now… it’s over to Andy!
Why did you decide to write Long Story Short?
Stories are really powerful. They help us navigate big decisions and shape the people that we become. I wanted to explore why stories are so powerful and how they frame our lives.
Why did you choose the title Long Story Short?
The book explores various stories that the Western world celebrates – stories around happiness, safety and significance. But ultimately, I share how the Christian faith is based around a story – as story that spans human history. The Bible often looks pretty off putting to read and I wanted to break this library of books down into a chapter! It’s this story that I believe makes most sense for why we are here.
How did the book begin to take shape?
I had given a few talks on stories and read around the subject a fair bit. I then wrote the opening chapter, sent it off to the publisher with a framework for how the book could work. It then took lots of reshaping and refining to get it to the finished book and in the process my thinking became clearer.
You were raised in a Christian home but by the age of 18 you felt Christianity wasn’t for you. What got you to that point?
I think for me, I found the stories in the Bible very exciting and yet the local church we attended seemed to be so alien to what I would read about Jesus. There was a big disconnect between what I was learning and what I was experiencing and so I began to look for other ways to make sense of life.
However, that wasn’t the end of the story! Tell us what happened when you went to the USA.
Although I didn’t fully believe in Jesus, I ended up serving for a summer on a Salvation Army Camp with kids from gangs in the US. Part of my role was to share Christian stories. Although I wasn’t following Jesus myself at this time, I began to see the reality of the Gospel at work in peoples lives and realised that God is still at work in our lives and that following him did not mean a life of boredom but a life of adventure.
How did your story change from that point to where you are today?
The Christian story gives us a narrative to live by. The bookends are important. The Genesis story reminds us that we are not a mistake and the book of Revelation reminds us that there is always hope. My story changed as I decided to find my story in this much bigger story, trying to put God at the centre.
You mention several inspiring life stories in your book such as Walt Disney’s, the Cadbury family and the music of Bach. What life stories have most inspired you?
Life stories that inspire me are those that push the envelope of what is possible. I like reading about extreme athletes but I love the biographies of social activists that have changed the course of history. These stories remind us of what is possible when we find a cause worth living for.
What would you say to someone who is at a similar point of feeling like following Jesus isn’t for them? Or perhaps someone who is on the fence – unsure, undecided and perhaps curious?
I would recommend they read Long Story Short! I have given copies to some of my friends who got have any Christian faith as I believe it provokes lots of questions. Each of lives tells a story and the big question is what story is your life telling?
What is the core message that you are hoping readers will take away from your book?
The message I want people to leave with is this: live a good story! For some of us who have been Christians many years, we can be enticed to play it safe but the God story is a reminder that we all have a role to play in God’s unfolding story!
And for those that have not explored the Christian faith, I would challenge them to consider that perhaps this story is the one that will give your life most meaning and purpose. It won’t always be easy but following Jesus is the greatest adventure this life offers!
Andy Frost is surf obsessed, adventure loving Londoner. He is involved in a range of innovative ways to communicate the Christian Faith. You can check out his new youtube channel ‘The Adventures of the Ginger Vicar and the Balding Bishop’ here: youtube.com/gvbbadventures and find out more about his work at sharejesusinternational.com